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Columnist
Sorry, Coach, Hawks' play actually worse than that call
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 5/24/2009 8:58 PM

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All of a sudden the Q in Coach Q stood for Qwazy.

"Well, I think we witnessed probably the worst call in the history of sports today," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said late Sunday afternoon.

He expressed that sentiment shortly after the Red Wings beat the Hawks 6-1 in the United Center.

The outcome gave the Wings a 3-1 lead in games and all but decided the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.

So Quenneville could be excused his disappointment, frustration and exaggeration over a roughing penalty assessed Hawks defenseman Matt Walker at the very end of the first period.

Detroit went ahead 2-0 just 20.7 seconds earlier and made it 3-0 with Walker in the penalty box early in the second period.

Quenneville went on and on about the call on Walker, as if the Hawks' team bus was ticketed for a moving violation while standing still.

Among Quenneville's rants were, "They absolutely destroyed what was going on the ice," and "It was that call - never seen anything like that," and "They ruined the whole game - that's basically the gist of what I'm trying to say."

We get it, Coach. We get it. In your mind it was a bad call. We get it. That third Detroit goal didn't help the Hawks' cause. Seriously, we get it.

"We come out and start the second period and find out we're short-handed," Quenneville continued. "I still can't figure it out."

OK, enough already. Enough is enough. Until DNA results exonerate Walker, the penalty remains a penalty.

Anyway, I'm guessing a worse call might have been made somewhere in the history of sports. The Wings might even say that Friday's game misconduct on Niklas Kronwall was worse.

But what's really strange about Quenneville's ramblings was that he could have come up with 20 other things to complain about, all of them in Hawks sweaters.

Like, how about his players not exactly maintaining their composure? How about the goaltending being inadequate without injured starter Nikolai Khabibulin? How about the Hawks overall playing poorly enough to get smoked by 5 goals?

All this despite the Wings playing without captain Nicklas Lidstrom, the NHL's best defenseman.

"In general," Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said of his team's performance, "it was just not a big enough effort."

Perhaps Quenneville merely was trying to divert attention from how badly the Hawks played in so important a playoff game.

Still, it was out of character for anybody associated with the Hawks to dwell on a referee's call in a game in which they were defeated so soundly.

The young Hawks haven't made excuses all season. They didn't use injuries, bad calls or anything else as reasons for the odd setback.

The Hawks just kept on keeping on, and that's what they'll try to do now.

Yes, they'll try to even though winning three straight against the defending Stanley Cup champions is an improbable dream bordering on an impossible nightmare.

"We gotta get better than we were (Sunday)," Quenneville said.

Now if he just would have said that to start his postgame media briefing ...